If you would like to read more detail about the nature of the content and how it supports the playwright’s intent and the director’s vision, please scroll below. Please know this will also reveal some essential events of the story.
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Thank you for your interest in Hoodoo Love by Katori Hall. Hoodoo Love centers on the journey of Toulou, who has run away from her home in Mississippi and found a new independent life outside of Memphis, Tennessee where she aspires to be a blues singer. She has a relationship with a traveling blues man, Ace of Spades, and the first scene begins in a graphic consensual sexual encounter between Toulou and Ace. Longing for a more committed love from Ace, Toulou learns from her neighbor Candylady about the power of Hoodoo to cast a love spell on him.
When her brother Jib, a traveling Christian preacher, finds her again after a lengthy search we learn that Toulou left Tennessee to escape the sexual abuse of her father and her brother. When Jib learns of her relationship with Ace, he becomes jealous and the two men engage in a series of competitions.
In a tragic turn, Toulou is about to run away with Ace when Jib arrives drunk and discovers she is about to leave. Toulou is raped by her brother Jib in the final scene of act one. While there is no nudity in this scene and it is not a lengthy scene, it is graphic and unambiguous.
In the second act, Toulou continues her journey to build a life for herself as a musician, within her shifting relationships, and the affects of Candylady’s spells.
As producers of Hoodoo Love, we understand there is a necessary conversation taking place regarding sexual assault, it’s painful history and the impact of such provocative images presented on stage. We would like to engage our community in these hard, necessary and important conversations.
Below is a link to an article in HowlRound from March, 2015 that discusses a playwrights journey to open up this discussion in a way that humanizes the experiences of all involved.
Of course, we recognize that our world is changing quickly, and we must engage in this discussion based on our current cultural understandings. Hoodoo Love was first presented in 2007.
We hope you will read Director Malika Oyetimein’s thoughts on this play, which she knows well and has directed before. She asserts consistently that it is a survivorship story. We hope you will be able to see the strength and resilience at the center of this story, and be shaped by Toulou’s resounding and powerful “voice,” expressing truthful experiences of women of color who live in poverty.